Tuesday, 4 October 2011

pregnant woman murdered while attending Mass


A madman shot two women attending Mass at a Catholic church in the Ciudad Leal district of Madrid on September 29. It was approximately 8 pm when Iván Berral Cid (34) entered the Santa María del Pinar parish church and without a word opened fire on the two innocent women, killing one and severely wounding the other. After commiting the crime, Berral Cid shot himself thus ending his own life. According to reports, Berral Cid had meticulously planned the attack following a June 2011 restraining order to stay away from his former companion, a Colombian woman. He had a considerable criminal record, including drug trafficking, domestic abuse, and resisting arrest. However, no record of psychiatric treatment has yet been reported. His former companion is expecting a child. It is believed that his obsession with his former girlfriend, coupled with other psychological issues, led him to take action at the church after he had spent months living on the street. Some members of the congregation believe that they may have seen him before the fatal attack. According to witnesses, Berral Cid had been haunting the church all day on September 28. One witness said that Berral Cid asked him at 6:45 that evening at what time Mass was expected. The killer entered and left the church several times during the recitation of the Rosary before the Mass.  The parish priest, Fr Francisco Santos, said that Berral Cid was acting strangely and also asked him at what time the Mass would begin. Witnesses said that moments before the Mass began, Berral Cid entered the church with pistol in hand. While raising the pistol, he grazed the head of a 72-year-old man waiting for the Mass and then put the muzzle to the temple of the unsuspecting expectant mother thus ending her life and of her baby. Rocio Pineiro (36) fell dead to the floor as Berral Cid advanced towards the altar as he fired wildly. Another bullet struck 52–year-old María Luis Fernández in the chest, and at least another struck the ceiling of the church. Witnesses said that in what seemed like a bizarre ritual, the killer stalked towards the sanctuary and at about six feet from the altar spun around to face the congregation whereupon he sank to his knees. Fixing his gaze on the congregation and the entry into the church, Berral Cid placed the muzzle of the pistol in his mouth, pulled the trigger and blew his head off. Panic ensued after members of the congregation had appeared transfixed during the carnage. Some flew out the door to seek help while others rang for the police and emergency services with their cellphones.  “My daughter, my daughter!” wailed María del Carmen, the mother of the dead woman who was due to deliver her baby within days. Emergency services were unable to revive Rocio, whose head was destroyed by the impact of the pistol’s discharge.  “Save at least my grandson, Alvaro!” cried María del Carmen. Physicians at the La Paz Hospital were able to save little Alvaro, who remains in critical condition.  Rocio and her mother had come to the church to pray for the health of the baby, having just celebrated the patronal feast of their hometown in Galicia. Members of the congregation sought help for Fernández, who fell bleeding to the floor of the church. One man tried to staunch the blood flowing from her breast as Fernández fell in and out of consciousness.  When she asked what had happened to her, Jesus Herranz told her that she was fine even as blood drained from the exit wound on her back. Fernández said that she felt cold as Herranz tried to stop the bleeding. Finally, emergency services arrived and took her to a nearby hospital. Police found in the killer’s wallet a handwritten note in which he claimed that the “devil is after me” and that he had no work or money for food. Rocio and her husband Fernando had been married for barely 5 months. Her family and friends were overcome with grief and confusion following the attack. Neither she nor the other victim knew the killer nor each other. Some witnesses are concluding that Berral Cid was looking to kill a pregnant woman as a form of demented rage actually directed towards his girlfriend. Rocio worked at a bank in Madrid,  a branch of which also employed her father. Upon hearing the news, her father fainted away in grief. Her mother, Maria del Carmen, had come to Madrid to help with preparations for the birth.

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